The influence of Vertical Integration and Property Rights on Network Access Charges in the German Electricity Markets
German Electricity markets were deregulated in the late nineties of the last century. In contrast to other European countries, the German government enacted negotiated third party access instead of installing a regulation authority. Network access charges for new competitors are based on contractual arrangements between energy producers and industrial consumers, which specify the calculation schemes for access charges. Local and regional suppliers are nevertheless able to set (monopolistic) charges at their own discretion, restricted only by the possibility of interference competition authorities. While some of those suppliers have been acquired by one of the four Transmission System Operators and become vertically integrated, the majority is still independent public utility companies. In this paper we analyse if there is evidence for different charging behaviour depending on the supplier’s economic independence or its level of vertical integration. Controlling for other coefficients as the so called structural features and related cost differences as well as the influence of competition law suits, multivariate estimations show significantly lower access charges than vertically separated suppliers, whereas incorporated network operators charge significantly higher charges compared to independent suppliers for at least one typical case.